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Marval’s Approaches to Service Transformation

For many organisations, an unexpected system or component failure can result in hundreds of dissatisfied customers, loss of organisational credibility and reduced profits. Ensuring a reliable, accountable and well managed IT and service infrastructure is critical to success.

There is no wrong or right way to transform your support services into an efficient, well run and customer-centric operation; here we offer an overview of Marval’s approach to service transformation based on best practice and Marval’s experience as IT service management practitioners.

Service and Process Focus

A stable, well-managed IT infrastructure and support service doesn't happen by itself. It takes commitment, planning and teamwork. Technology is often a vital element in service transformation, but it should not be adopted in isolation. It needs to be balanced with the right people and processes.

Processes and procedures define how we are supposed to be doing our work. Good process is repeatable, scalable, saves time and money, and reduces risk.

Documenting and following process will:

  • Ensure a better-quality, consistent and efficient service
  • Create a resourceful environment with more productive personnel
  • Build the confidence of the support team and customers
  • Remove dependence on, and ‘memory’ of, individuals – there is no place for ‘service heroes’
  • Provide a baseline from which to measure improvements

Pro-active, preventative and continual service improvements

We all at some time have had to resort to ‘fire-fighting’ to resolve an unexpected issue – an issue that may have been avoided by planned, preventative maintenance activities and process improvements.

Just as your company is continually having to adapt and change to continue to succeed in increasingly competitive markets, so Marval recommends embracing a culture of continual service improvements.

The IT support department needs to adopt a more professional, customer-aware, attitude. Start by breaking it down at the organisational level, by department, then to the services available and consumed by the individual groups and customers.

Integrated Service Delivery Team

One of the common issues facing many support departments is that they are fragmented into silos of information and measurement, preventing a holistic view of activities across the organisation. To realise the business benefits, it is vital to break these silos down, creating an integrated service delivery team which provides actionable intelligence, enabling greater control and enhanced performance.

The way to begin breaking down those silos is by encouraging communication between all groups and teams that are responsible for delivering an end-to-end process. By mapping these processes into services, it becomes possible to easily see who is responsible for delivering what aspects of any service. From the internal technical services that provide the operational infrastructure of the organisation, through to the business services consumed by the customers.

Agree common methods of working and collaborating by the use of communication groups, operational agreements between teams, escalation points, common process workflows, and frequent cross-team reporting - with particular focus on operational exceptions. With all the information held in a single source of truth – the service management application, it becomes easy to demonstrate the benefits being delivered back to the business.

Repeatable, Accountable Governance Model

Customers expect services that are fast and reliable, repeatable services that are available when and where they need them. A governance and compliance model channels organisations to adopt standardisation, consistency, reliability, security and risk mitigation.

Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) as a practice needs to be driven and accountable from board level and filter down throughout the organisation including IT, to ensure that the entire business is managing risk effectively, producing the right value to stakeholders, delivering a sustainable bottom line and meeting the requirements of external compliance criteria. A common framework or standard for measurement is required which all areas need to adhere to.

Extensive security, access controls, audit and management information help ensure strong governance and compliance whilst improving the customer service experience of the services we provide.

Business and Service Aligned

There needs to be a removal of what can be described as a ‘blinkered’ view of IT and the role it plays within an organisation. IT departments need to realise that they are a strategic asset and an integral part of the business, contributing to the overall success of the organisation and ultimately, the bottom line.

IT support teams should ensure that their actions and activities genuinely support the organisation's business needs by:

  • Being fully aware of current key business drivers, business issues or constraints – the IT department should be part of a wider business steering committee
  • Establishing business-focused Key Performance Indicators – through regular business relationship meetings, with ideally the IT teams having a nominated Business Relationship Manager to interface with the organisation
  • Having a budget to actively develop appropriate skills and knowledge in an ever-evolving environment
  • Understanding and completion of business-focused activities, through having an “IT Mission Statement” which supports that of the organisation
  • Meeting service level and operational level agreements and highlighting areas where improvements are being made

Service Based end-to-end Metrics

Successful departments understand, measure and analyse their key services and processes to ensure business goals continue to be met. Early detection of deviations from expected results enables any necessary changes to be made before the organisation is adversely affected.

Focus on metrics that are aligned to business services and goals by:

  • Measuring and reporting on relevant services
  • Recording and classifying all requests to generate valid, meaningful reports for informed management decisions
  • Stop producing reports that do not provide information to guide business decisions

 

Vincent Iweka, Marval Software

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